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Santosh Upadhyay Bharat Financial Inclusion Ltd

Santosh Upadhyay Bharat Financial Inclusion Ltd

Santosh Upadhyay
Senior Vice President – Admin, Commercial & CRE.
Bharat Financial Inclusion Ltd

Now as COVID-19 is new normal and most of the companies have allowed their employees to work from home for their safety but still few sectors, the WFH proposition is posing implementation challenges as it has a direct bearing on the business operations. Most of the companies have reported revenue losses for Q1 FY20-21 and accordingly the actions are taken for quick recovery.

Few initiatives taken by companies to normalise the process:
1. Identify areas to increase efficiencies, prioritize initiatives and reduce spend.
2. Maximize the usages of digital platforms.
3. Smart prioritization ensures immediate impact to address COVID-19 conditions, while preparing for the long-term.
4. Strategic Optimization in IT Development and Engineering
5. Exploring the different cost levers and cost saving drives.
6. Rent: 10% reduction on existing premises; reducing/ surrendering premises, as per new norms & manpower planning considering long term WFH.
7. Projects: All new projects kept on HOLD and ongoing projects commercial/ proposal revised.
8. Manpower: Reducing outsource & inhouse manpower as be revised plan and requirement.
9. Procurement: All rate contracts revised with 5-10% reduction. All new procurement proposals are reviewed stringently. 
10. Other Expense control: Restriction on travel, events & all major outflows.
11. Preparing for next crisis:
(i) Ensure cost baseline is transparent, scalable & flexible.
(ii) Ensure to Identify pro-active and realizable cost-savings initiatives.
(iii) Monitor your cost performance.
(iv) Having cost governance structure in place.  

Most of the companies have started their offices with 30-40% manpower as per locations and business recruitment, ensuring all safety norms including social distancing at workplace. Also, many employees working with Alternate workplace including work from home or any location with available network, hence their desktops were relocated to their residence or alternate workplace locations during lockdown.

In this pandemic the lockdown has taught us that People Policy & technology are more important than ever and people centric approach is adopted by most of the organisation in planning for return to the office.

Few important points which were considered for reopening and future planning were:
1. Workplace seating re-allocation, prioritizing physical distancing.  
2. Roster wise working in office and other days work from home.
3. Essential workers to be prioritized and ensured safe working place for daily operations.
4. Screen for employee access to the office and training security team.
5. Motivating and training support staff to perform more efficiently ensuring their safety.
6. Medical/ Isolation room preparedness for safe isolation.
7. Prepare people, policies, and protocols and revised policy and process guidelines to be in place with training & induction to related staff.
8. Determine who needs to come back, and how they will be grouped
9. Assess building preparedness - Consider every touch point between an employee’s parking spot and their desk, including their entry to the building, use of elevators and restrooms shared with other tenants. HVAC & ducting preparedness including AQI and ventilation.
10. Pay close attention to restroom and pantry facilities.
11. Prepare for contact-tracing strategies.
12. Build trust through transparency.
13. Account for factors not under control – Contentment zone, local transport, etc…  

Organisations have taken various measures for their employees’ safety during this pandemic situation:

1. Workplace Hygiene:
(i) Work Hygiene posters are pasted throughout office along with social distancing signages.
(ii) Placement of Hand sanitizers (60-80% alcohol base) at all entry points.  
(iii) Provide hand washing facilities including clean running water, soap, and paper towels or an air dryer.
(iv) Seating, meeting rooms and cafeteria demarcations done to ensure safe distancing.
(v) Implement regular housekeeping, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment and other elements of the work environment.
(vi) Cleaning frequency to be increased along with appropriate cleaning, sanitising and dusting
(vii) Promote a culture of regularly cleaning and disinfecting the surfaces of desks and workstations, door handles, telephones, keyboards and work tools and regularly disinfect common areas such as sanitary facilities and elevators.

2. Worker Hygiene:
(i) Practise good personal and hand hygiene – Promote frequent and thorough handwashing, including by providing workers, customers and worksite visitors with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide alcohol-based hand rubs containing between 60 and 80 per cent alcohol.
(ii) Mask, hand-gloves, sanitizers & liquid hand-wash were provided to all field staff for their safety and its usage made mandatory. 
(iii) Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes. 
(iv) Discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices or other work tools and equipment, when possible.
(v) Promote good personal hygiene when sneezing and coughing. People should cover their coughs or sneezes with an elbow or tissue, dispose of the tissue immediately and wash their hands, and avoid touching their face.
(vi) Ensure symptomatic people (staff, contactors, customers, etc.) do not come into the workplace.

Technology have been playing a vital role during this pandemic for almost all the organisations including work from home, hence building the necessary infrastructure to support a digitized world and stay current in the latest technology will be essential for any business.

5G is acknowledged as the future of communication and the cutting edge for the entire mobile industry which helped for clear network for being connected thru video conferencing via TEAMS, Zoom, Google handout, Webinars etc.

COVID-19 have increased social distancing space but have reduced physical connected as it has taught us virtual meeting, training, team review, vendor negotiation, school classes and work execution with no bound of location, time, connectivity and distance. Now this is the new normal as people feel more effective and comfortable with virtual meeting/ working as it saves travel time & energy.    

Logistic industry has seen huge demand of technology during lockdown to meet the critical supplies and ensure contact-less movement and deliveries through autonomous vehicles, drones and robots. Technology supported temperature monitoring. The wireless thermometer guns and other similar infrared body temperature measuring devices. 

During WFH, remote working technologies has supported business with social distancing and maintain business continuity. Different technology with tracking people with facial recognition and big data are the new area where Airport and other authorities are working for better efficiency. Also Increasing traceability and transparency by sharing data.

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